Self Guided Japan Tours

Just You!

We can help you plan and book your dream vacation! Our self guided Japan tours offer ultimate freedom to explore and experience the country at your own pace.

Travel Like a Local

Travel in Japanese style! Ride the trains, eat at 7/11, and sleep on tatami mats! Feel like a local as you explore all that Japan has to offer.

Never Alone

Even though you will be travelling without a group, we will be with you! You can connect with us directly on WhatsApp for help, direction, and recommendations.

Most Popular
Sensoji Temple

Classic Japan Tour

11 Days / 10 Nights
This tour is the best way to experience Japan as a first time visitor!
From$3,099$2,899
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Anime Lovers

Anime Tour

11 Days / 10 Nights
If you are an anime lover, you cannot miss out on this
From$3,299$2,999
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$300 Off!
Dotonbori, Osaka

Classic Japan Tour Extended

15 Days / 14 Nights
This tour is the best way to experience Japan as a first time visitor!
From$3,699$3,399
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Star Wars!

Tokyo Star Wars Celebration Self-Guided 2025

10 Days / 9 Nights
Experience Tokyo and Star Wars Celebration together on this amazing trip!
From$2,899$1,999
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Star Wars!

Classic Star Wars Celebration Self-Guided 2025

14 Days / 13 Nights
Experience Japan and Star Wars Celebration together on this amazing trip!
From$4,499$3,499
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Budget Friendly

Budget Anime Tour

7 Days / 6 Nights
If you are an anime lover, you cannot miss out on this
From$1,299
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Why Choose The Japan Tour Company?

The Japan Tour Company was born out of a love of Japan. Our primary goal is to provide an authentic encounter with Japan that changes you forever. We want you to experience and fall in love with the same culture and people that we have! We also understand that Japan as many iconic and famous attractions that everyone wants to see.

Mt Fuji

With those 2 things in mind, we design our self guided Japan tours with a classic itinerary that is leans heavily towards non-touristy experiences. We don’t want you to feel like a tourist in Japan, we want you to feel like you are one of the people. We want you to be among them, and visit the same locations that other Japanese locals and Japanese tourists are visiting.

There will be times where you see many other foreigners at a particular location due to it’s popularity. While that is unavoidable at times, we strive to take you places where few foreigners are, so you can experience the country in pure Japanese fashion.

Is a Self Guided Japan Tour Right For Me?

If you the kind of person who wants to experience a country and a culture in a truly meaningful way and some basic travel experience can travel to Japan on their own! If you don’t want to be stuck traveling with a group of strangers, then we might be right for you! We take care of everything so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest!

However, if you like to travel with a group, we offer guided vacation packages that you can find here

How We Travel

To accomplish the goal of authenticity with our self guided tours, we do not include the use of private transportation of any kind. Japan is extremely well connected by a massive network of trains. You can go almost anywhere you want to go on one. They are easy to find and most operate with both English and Japanese making them extremely accessible to foreigners.

Self Guided Japan Tours

Any time a train won’t suffice, it is almost guaranteed that a bus or taxi will be available. For your convenience and ease of travel, we do our best to stick with the trains. This can mean that you will do some additional walking at times, from a quarter of a mile up to 1 mile to and from a particular train station and attraction. This much walking can make our tours a bit more strenuous than others out there, but we love it! Why? Because you get to see and experience more of the country that way! Some of the best places in Japan we have found while walking instead of taking transit.

If you used a taxi and drove to every destination, you would miss out on the authentic Japanese experience. There are so many surprises around every corner that we almost always find something new on every trip! That is what The Japan Tour Company is all about!

7-Eleven

Speaking of living like a local, have you heard of 7-Eleven? 7-Eleven is vastly different in Japan than it is in the USA, it isn’t the dirty gas station on the corner that you might be used to. These stores are clean and full of useful products and fresh food, yes, it’s made fresh! In fact, if the store runs out of something they receive their fresh products within 12 hours! You’ll find that a breakfast at 7-Eleven or Family Mart is cheaper and even better quality than many hotel breakfasts.

So, join the locals and shop local! Saving you money and providing you with even more close encounters with Japan!

Where We Travel

Designing a a self guided japan tour that appeals to everyone can be tough. Especially when you consider that veteran travelers to Japan have probably already seen the standard iconic sights.

That is why we focus mostly on first time travelers. We want to bring Japan to those who haven’t yet tasted it’s rich culture. Our self guided tours specifically cover well known areas that are both accessible and popular. We do our best not to send across Tokyo bouncing from place to place. Instead, we craft each day to allow for meaningful and exciting encounters with the people and the culture. We strive to suggest non-standard routes, away from other tourists and into the heart of the land.

Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku Tokyo

Tokyo

Tokyo is one of those hustling and bustling cities that never seems to sleep. But watch out for those trains, they stop running at midnight; miss one and you’ll be spending your early hours in a bar to pass the time!

When you visit Tokyo we really focus on 2 major things: Japanese City Culture and Food.

Riding bustling trains and subways, moving with the flow of the people is your move about the city. Walk the streets in the quiet morning or late at night when the city is lit up in neon. We will stop the tour at times and let the group disperse to each find their own corner of Tokyo to discover for themselves. When we come back together, there is always a buzz of conversation and excitable sharing among our customers.

City Culture

We’ll travel to areas such as Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho where the locals drink after work or perhaps Hoppy Street in Asakusa where traditional Izakayas line the streets, their tables flowing into the road. You can upgrade to special local food tours run by local Japanese guides to introduce you to the areas and food around Tokyo. These encounters are intimate and memorable.

Visiting Shrines and parks is not out of the question either. Just because it’s the big city that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems that can’t be found tucked away between the buildings. There is a reason Central Park has such an appeal in New York, and for that same reason, you will find Yoyogi park a lovely stroll. The Meiji shrine is nearby as well. If you are there on the weekend, you may just get a chance to see a Shinto wedding ceremony!

Tokyo is full of contradictions, one minute you are in the park, admiring the cherry blossoms and the next, you are in Harajuku, the center for wild fashion in Japan. Or maybe you are in Shibya, the “Time Square” of Tokyo. The old and the new live side by side in an amazing way.

Bowl of Ramen, Tokyo
Food

The food in Tokyo is some of the best in the world. Sushi, ramen, and curry can be found everywhere you look! With endless options it can be hard to choose. Luckily there are just a few articles out there talking about this very subject! One article in particular that I appreciate is this one from Just One Cookbook. It covers almost every category of food and offers recommendations too!

Ninenzaka

Kyoto

The city of Kyoto is an old soul. Preserved streets stretch out across it’s face and draw you in to a time that we can now only read about. The feel is very Edo-Kyoto (Edo is the romanticized period of Japan that the samurai are associated). On our Japan group tour you can walk these ancient roads and get a sense of what the old Kyoto might have been like.

There is honestly so much to see Kyoto that you could easily spend a month here and not see it all. But since most of us don’t have that kind of time, our self guided japan tours attempt to capture it’s essence and distill it in the time that we do have.

Eastern Kyoto

Higashiyama and the surrounding area covers a lot of that old world feel. Many of the streets have been preserved leaving you with a sense of what it was like hundreds of years ago in the throng of the morning markets. The homes and shops exude that post WWII feel that has been so romanticized in anime and film.

The Kiyomizudera temple is a fantastic visit long your walks. Make a wish and take in the swathe of colors visible from the stage.

Philosopher's Path

Philosopher’s Path is just the north of the Higashiyama area and provide a beautiful stroll through cherry blossoms in the spring. Our self guided tours typically explore Gion, a well preserved area that sits right along the river where geisha still work; you can even spot a a few of them as they go about their business!

Northern Kyoto

Northern Kyoto is full of shrines, the Gold and Silver Pavilion are especially popular. Our tours don’t typically go into the northern parts of Kyoto due to the fact that aren’t many trains that go that high. Typically this is where buses are required and if you’ve ever tried to get a group of 16 people onto a bus in Kyoto, you’d know that it is a nearly impossible task. The buses are almost always packed!

We do however encourage our travelers to explore! If you want to go see it yourself we can help you get there!

Western Kyoto

Western Kyoto is a dream in the fall. Walk through the bamboo forest of Arashiyama; a path that leads you up to a grand view of the river and the mountainside covered in color. Walk down along the river to the town by the local train station. Enjoy a few local delicacies and snacks before heading back to the main city.

Bamboo Forest

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Southern Kyoto

Southern Kyoto is well known for it’s singularly most popular shrine, Fushimi Inari Taisha. This Shinto shrine is worth your entire morning and then some. There is both a short hike and a longer one. I encourage anyone who is up to the climb to walk the entire loop if they can. Being on a self guided tour, you get to decide how much time you want to stay there!

Once you have finished enjoying the shrine, street food vendors can typically be seen near the entrance. Stop for some toasted mochi or grilled crab cakes on a stick!

Fushimi Inari Taishi is one of the most visited and celebrated shrines in Japan. When you go, you will quickly understand why.

Don’t Forget About Nara

Deer in Nara Park

As you travel even further south of Kyoto you’ll run into Nara. Nara is well known for it’s temple, shrines, and deer filled park. It’s a great place to take it slow and just enjoy your surroundings. It is also an extremely popular visit. Our self guided japan tours don’t always go to Nara park, it really depends on the itinerary. If you have a chance (and enough time) to see it, we recommend it!

Osaka

Let’s talk food. One aspect of our group tour is the eating and sharing of food and there is no place better for that than Osaka. Street food is common in various arcades and shopping streets. Osaka castle is filled with vendors in the spring, and a great place to spend your sakura season.

Dotonbori, Osaka

Dotonbori

Dotonbori deserves it’s own subheading. Yes, it is so full of food that you couldn’t try it all even if you spent an entire month in this neighborhood. Crab legs, sushi, curry, ramen, ice cream filled melon pan. If it’s edible, it can be found here. At night the entire area is lit up by neon signs and is a great place to spend an evening and maybe even do some karaoke!